Recently at #CSV16 (Cornell Silicon Valley’s annual technical conference), there were several presentations that focused on IoT, either partly or in connection. Indeed, IoT means something different for everyone so it’s easy to see why IoT issues permeated the day’s talks. Some of the issues that came up involved:
- Connected home and car
- Drones and robots – “flying smartphones”
- Connected healthcare
- Consumer IoT
Key IoT Issues
Out of all the talks, I was able to boil it down a few key take-aways:
- Instant value: For any IoT device, it has to be more than cool. It needs to hit you in the face with value that matches the price point.
- Continuous value: How much data is enough? How many steps did you take? How long did you sleep? Tracking your running and your calories. How long is that information interesting?
- Information and insight versus data for data’s sake: Most data is in non-actionable form. To provide value, data needs to provide impetus for real action.
- Usability and learnability: Your users need to be able to understand how to use it as soon as they open it, much like newspapers need to be written at an elementary level for everyone to comprehend.
Hurdles to IoT Implementation
- Biggest hurdle is ecosystem: With multiple vendors creating their own ecosystem a la Apple, you need to make sure that yours is complete but “plays well” with others.
- Battery life is a constraint: Battery life is always a problem. Recharge everyday? Maybe that works for the Apple Watch or fitness monitors but with most other IoT devices, having to recharge everyday won’t work.
- Connectivity at low power is key: How can you ensure your device will stay connected with low power consumption?
- Data accuracy: Heart rate, controlling your home and cars – there is no situation where data accuracy is not important.
- Updating: Especially with remote devices, how will software be updated in a secure and reliable manner?
I’m an early adopter for IoT in most respects, so understanding IoT issues and the potential to overcome them is interesting to me. I recently got an Apple Watch just to explore the technology, and when I look at the take-aways above, I’m wondering how it stacks up against those points. It’s easy to use and learn, but for the rest of the points, it’s questionable.